The City of Elma soon will be the home of the Whopper.
Plans for a Burger King restaurant were submitted to the city's building department on Thursday, June 23. The 80-seat, 3,000 square-foot facility will be located on the Eagle's Landing development site at the northeast corner of Highway 8 and Highway 12.
The construction of the fast-food restaurant, owned and operated by FOR Northwest LLC, will be overseen by 2812 Architecture of Everett.
Ryan Ellinghaus, project manager and architect, said the restaurant will be a flagship location that highlights a new image for the brand. Ellinghaus, who works almost exclusively on Burger King restaurants, said the building will be similar to the Burger King located on Cooper Point Road in Olympia, with just a few modifications. He added this particular style of restaurant will be the prototype for the next five years.
"They say, 'Location, location, location,' and it doesn't get better than this," Ellinghaus said. "It's a good site with great visibility on a great development. It's going to be a good restaurant. A good thing for Elma."
Ellinghaus said the city's turnaround time for building permits was exceptional. He expects to get the goahead sometime after the Fourth of July holiday with ground breaking around middle to late July.
The construction is anticipated to take about three to four months, with the restaurant completed in the fall, possibly around October or November. Because the restaurant is still in the very early stages of development, Ellinghaus could not provide a more exact time frame.
Joe Chrystal, Elma's building inspector, said the Burger King is the first business to be located at Eagle's Landing. He's anticipating others to follow.
"This will be the one that gets the ball rolling," Chrystal said.
Crystal added Eagle's Landing was zoned as a general commercial area and that almost any type of business could be located there - produce stand, automotive service station, offices, etc.
Washington's largest Burger King franchisee, FOR Northwest, LLC, and its managing partners Mark Escamilla and Phillip Demaria, operate 32 restaurants in Washington, including the Burger King on Heron Street in Aberdeen. The company also operates four restaurants in Alaska.
"We are excited to be there in Elma," Mark Escamilla, chief operating officer of FOR Northwest, said. "The restaurant will offer both dining-in and a drive through for Elma customers."
Escamilla said he expected the restaurant to be open before the end of the year.
With 32 restaurants in Washington, FOR Northwest's Burger King restaurants employ about 11,000 people. Escamilla said the restaurant in Elma would provide jobs for 30 to 35 people. In addition to bringing jobs to the area, he said it was important to become involved in the Elma community by supporting the local schools and community organizations and clubs. The company is a supporter of the Burger King McLamore Foundation, named for co-founder Jim McLamore, and which focuses on promoting education.
Escamilla said his restaurants had provided $1,000 scholarships to local students in previous years.
Some of the newer Burger King menu items Escamilla said have an appeal for a younger audience such as the Chicken Fries, the Angry Burger and the Mac n' Cheetos, which debuted on Monday. Another popular item, with a more universal appeal is the grilled hot dog. Escamilla's favorite is the Whopper sandwich, hold the tomato.
Ryan Haddock, vice president of Kidder Mathews, the real estate firm representing developer SVK Investments, said his team was working with several national and regional retailers interested in the Eagle's Landing site, but could not disclose who those retailers were as of yet. He said the largest space available at the development was 20,000 square feet.